Saturday, July 31, 2010

Melanie Pritchard - A Miracle in the Works

h/t My Chocolate Heart

When a Pro-life Heroine gave birth this past Thursday, she almost passed away as a result.  This created a groundswell of prayer support for her and for her family, and today, Melanie Pritchard lives, back from the edge of death.

Catholic Online has a report from her friend Mark Henry, a frequent writer at CO, about this.  Is it a miracle?  As Mr. Henry notes, it is not for him to say, but it sure does look like it.

It looks like it to me too, because our God tends to do things up right, and sometimes in a very big way.  As a result of the request for prayers, there is evidence that some folks are returning to the practice of the faith, and that those directly involved have been girded up by the prayers around the world that have been lifted to the heavens for them and particularly for Melanie.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Grace Changes Everything

Jamie Slocum

You know what.  It does.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm Back

Well, I Never Left Really

For those who prayed for me and my family the last while, as this blog has gone pretty much unattended for a few weeks, I thank you, and report that all is well, that all was well, but that life was kind of busy for the last while, and hopefully we will now be able to catch our breath.  I will write shortly about some of the things that were going on, since they turned out to be causes for celebration.

The Godless Delusion

Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley

Atheists consider themselves to be rational people, and like the theists of the world, they are, no more really and no less really.  But, by and large they do not like their assumptions about the non existence of God to be challenged, pretty much like any one or group that has a position on something, thinking pro-choice folks here.   But, responses to atheists from Christians and other believers have often fallen into the traps of using only the Bible to refute the position. 

Messrs. Madrid and Hensley appear to have produced a book that goes beyond that rationally, "The Godless Delusion", and is now available to be purchased and hopefully read.  Patrick Madrid announced it in June on his blog site here.

Here is what one of the commenters on the book had to say:
“The New Atheists came on the contemporary scene with an unprecedented mixture of confidence and scorn. And, sadly, most of the books written in response have conveyed an impression of ad hoc defensiveness. But not this one. The Godless Delusion, by Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley, wages a full-scale frontal assault on the tallest turret of the New Atheists’ stronghold — the claim to moral and rational superiority. With remorseless logic, wit, skill, and boundless, joyful enthusiasm it lays waste that stronghold, routs the enemy, occupies the high ground for Christ their king, and dares anyone to retake it. Books on philosophical apologetics don’t get more exhilarating than this.”

— Ronald K. Tacelli, SJ, professor of philosophy, Boston College, co-author of Handbook of Christian Apologetics
Well, the atheists have already gotten their hands on the Amazon 15 page teaser, and although it barely scratches the surface of the book, they have already begun the screed on its condemnation over at the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science site here.

Mr. Madrid mentions one of the comments today on his blog site here, and well, the game is afoot.

I think I would like to read this book.

Go Patrick.

Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in your love for Patrick Madrid, and his co-author Kenneth Hensley, and all those who are being touched in any way by this book, including those who are denouncing it.

Sacred Heart of Jesus fill them all with your blood.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Guest of the Maestro

Max Lucado
Max Lucado is one of the finest writers of Christian books today.  He has a way of finding Jesus in the simple things of life, and weaving a tale that you can see in your mind, and step into in your dreams.  It is a wonderful way to introduce people to Our Saviour, and God Bless Him abundantly for being faithful to the gift that he has been given.

Here is his latest email missive.  Pastor Lucado is one of my favourite Christians, though I have never had the pleasure of meeting him.
What happens when a dog interrupts a concert? To answer that, come with me to a spring night in Lawrence, Kansas.
Take your seat in Hoch Auditorium and behold the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra—the oldest continually operating orchestra in the world. The greatest composers and conductors in history have directed this orchestra. It was playing in the days of Beethoven (some of the musicians have been replaced).
You watch as stately dressed Europeans take their seats on the stage. You listen as professionals carefully tune their instruments. The percussionist puts her ear to the kettle drum. A violinist plucks the nylon sting. A clarinet player tightens the reed. And you sit a bit straighter as the lights dim and the tuning stops. The music is about to begin.
The conductor, dressed in tails, strides onto the stage, springs onto the podium, and gestures for the orchestra to rise. You and two thousand others applaud. The musicians take their seats, the maestro takes his position, and the audience holds its breath.
There is a second of silence between lightning and thunder. And there is a second of silence between the raising of the baton and the explosion of the music. But when it falls the heavens open and you are delightfully drenched in the downpour of Beethoven’s Third Symphony.
Such was the power of that spring night in Lawrence, Kansas. That hot, spring night in Lawrence, Kansas. I mention the temperature so you’ll understand why the doors were open. It was hot. Hoch Auditorium, a historic building, was not air-conditioned. Combine bright stage lights with formal dress and furious music, and the result is a heated orchestra. Outside doors on each side of the stage were left open in case of a breeze.
Enter, stage right, the dog. A brown, generic, Kansas dog. Not a mean dog. Not a mad dog. Just a curious dog. He passes between the double basses and makes his way through the second violins and into the cellos. His tail wags in beat with the music. As the dog passes between the players, they look at him, look at each other, and continue with the next measure.
The dog takes a liking to a certain cello. Perhaps it was the lateral passing of the bow. Maybe it was the eye-level view of the strings. Whatever it was, it caught the dog’s attention and he stopped and watched. The cellist wasn’t sure what to do. He’d never played before a canine audience. And music schools don’t teach you what dog slobber might do to the lacquer of a sixteenth-century Guarneri cello. But the dog did nothing but watch for a moment and then move on.
Had he passed on through the orchestra, the music might have continued. Had he made his way across the stage into the motioning hands of the stagehand, the audience might have never noticed. But he didn’t leave. He stayed. At home in the splendor. Roaming through the meadow of music.
He visited the woodwinds, turned his head at the trumpets, stepped between the flutists, and stopped by the side of the conductor. And Beethoven’s Third Symphony came undone.
The musicians laughed. The audience laughed. The dog looked up at the conductor and panted. And the conductor lowered his baton.
The most historic orchestra in the world. One of the most moving pieces ever written. A night wrapped in glory, all brought to a stop by a wayward dog.
The chuckles ceased as the conductor turned. What fury might erupt? The audience grew quiet as the maestro faced them. What fuse had been lit? The polished, German director looked at the crowd, looked down at the dog, then looked back at the people, raised his hands in a universal gesture and . . . shrugged.
Everyone roared.
He stepped off the podium and scratched the dog behind the ears. The tail wagged again. The maestro spoke to the dog. He spoke in German, but the dog seemed to understand. The two visited for a few seconds before the maestro took his new friend by the collar and led him off the stage. You’d have thought the dog was Pavarotti the way the people applauded. The conductor returned and the music began and Beethoven seemed none the worse for the whole experience.
Can you find you and me in this picture?
I can. Just call us Fido. And consider God the Maestro.
And envision the moment when we will walk onto his stage. We won’t deserve it. We will not have earned it. We may even surprise the musicians with our presence.
The music will be like none we’ve ever heard. We’ll stroll among the angels and listen as they sing. We’ll gaze at heaven’s lights and gasp as they shine. And we’ll walk next to the Maestro, stand by his side, and worship as he leads.
These final chapters remind us of that moment. They challenge us to see the unseen and live for that event. They invite us to tune our ears to the song of the skies and long—long for the moment when we’ll be at the Maestro’s side.
He, too, will welcome. And he, too, will speak. But he will not lead us away. He will invite us to remain, forever his guests on his stage.
From When God Whispers Your Name

Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado

The Truth or Pablum For the Masses - Choose

Recently, Ken Howell, an instructor at the U of Illinois at Champagne was fired from his teaching position.  Ok, it happens from time to time.  But, in this case, Mr. Howell was fired for presenting the Catholic teaching on Homosexuality, and doing so very accurately, in a course that is called Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought. 

He stated carefully that homosexual sex acts are by their nature wrong, because they are contrary to the complementarity of the natural law of human sexual interaction.  At no time did he criticise any particular individuals for their belief, merely stated the Catholic Church position.

Some student took offence, but rather than complain personally had another homosexual friend write a letter of complaint, which called this teaching "hate speech".

Make no mistake, gentle reader, Ken Howell is being persecuted on behalf of the Catholic Church for making people uncomfortable with their own beliefs.  He has 2,000 years of scripture and tradition backing him up, with teachings that have not changed over that time, except to have the current contextual situations of each time and space melded into them for current situational accuracy.  The teachings have remained intact.

In the Catholic Church, sex outside of the marriage of one man and one woman is no less acceptable whether it is between two homosexuals, or two heterosexuals, who are not married to each other validly.  I have struggled with this teaching in my life, and from my own growth in faith, and from seeing the pain that not following that teaching has caused me and those I love, I for one, believe it to be the truth, unvarnished as it might be, and as difficult to take in and follow as it is.

The Catholic Church is not going to make this teaching more palatable for the masses.  It will never be pablum.  It will remain meat.

Additionally, I have personally engaged in largely fruitless dialogue with a former Catholic, who having found his faith in one of the 30,000 Protestant Christian denominations is bent on saving Catholics from the Whore of Babylon, the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

Of great contention for those who would criticize the Catholic Church is the teaching on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  Of course, it makes no sense to our physical bodies.  Isn't it a belief in cannibalism? A poor man's version of sex outside of marriage.  If it feels right (really if it feels good), then do it.  It does not "feel" right to eat one of Jesus . . . what? fingers during Communion. 

You know, to my flesh, it "feels" right to have sexual relations with any person or thing I want to.  So there!  And eating Jesus body does not "feel" right.

But, the Catholic Church has always hurt people's feelings, not because it is mean spirited, but because the truth challenges our feelings, and seeks to get below the feelings of our rebellious body to our heart, where God wants to take up residence in his created ones, you and me.

The Catholic Church will never waver from the truth, delivered in love to all who will listen, and we are commanded to do likewise.  Love is the operative word here; compassion, joining us with Christ's Passion and death on the cross, suffering injustice for the sake of love, and loving even when it hurts.

And, if our actions do not back up our words, who will listen?  Nobody.

The Good Samaritan - Not Me Sadly

I follow the blog of Father Tim Moyle of Mattawa Ontario, and recently he posted a cute picture with a caption here.  In response to this posting, a particular woman named Lina bared a painful piece of her soul, largely about her son, who had told her that he was gay.  From the things she wrote, some of which were the wanderings of a mind troubled and trying to make sense of things that make no sense to our rational minds, it was evident that she was in pain.

However, in the midst of this one usual commenter, Small Town Guy, a retired Catholic who has found his Christian faith outside the Catholic Church, responded in a most unusual way, critical of the Catholic Church, which was neither germane to the picture that was at the root of the post, nor to the grief of Lina. 

Enter into this fray, that never existed, your faithful (though not too bright) servant, on white charger, with sword drawn.  Did I offer any encouragement to Lina in her time of need?  Not this bozo.  No, I set out to skewer Small Town Guy over his perfidy, in a perfidy for perfidy peeing contest that will undoubtedly never end well.  Basically, we left Lina at the side of the road, wounded and battered by the challenges of her life.

Then, of course, we have yesterday's Gospel reading of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37.  The priest and the Levite cross the road to avoid the opportunity to minister to the injured man, just life STG and I skipped by Lina and carried on our own debate.

I felt the conviction of that sinfulness on my part for the rest of the day.  Then, this morning, it was in my face again, as I awoke pondering on what I had participated in, and what opportunity I had missed to show compassion to one in need.

So, I went to morning prayer with my prayer partners, and in the midst of the Liturgy of the Hours for Morning prayer was the verses of James 2:12-17.
So speak and so act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
We paused in our prayers, as I shared what I had done, with my brothers, and how God was speaking to me about my own sinfulness.  I had not even told Lina to "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well."  We ignored her call for help completely, so intent on being right about the Church teachings.

This morning in a comment post, I asked Lina to forgive me for ignoring her need, in order to pursue my own selfish agenda.

Having urged Lina to take captive her thoughts during this trial that she is undergoing, I would do well to heed my own advice, and do so with my own thoughts.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in your love for Lina and her son, for Small Town Guy, Lady Janus, and Father Tim Moyle, and all readers of his blog.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, fill us with your blood.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Got Me Thinking

Sacred Music

For much of my life I was a musician, and for several of those years, I played guitar and/or piano in contemporary choirs.  I love that style of music, and participated in the writing of many pieces for prayer groups and also mass parts.

But this video gave me pause to think.

Sacred Music is different than Praise music.  There is a time and place for Praise and Worship, and in fact in the Mass we are worshipping our Dear Saviour, but we are joining ourselves as His Body to His Death on the Cross, and His institution before He died of the Eucharist.  The mass is not entertainment, but a time of adoration.

I wonder if we need to rethink music for Mass, and when I think back to my childhood, and the organ music of the time, and the reverence of liturgy then, I have to wonder if there is something to this.


Can you tell the difference?? from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Please Join Me in Prayer

Joan and Jim Noll

About a month ago, I wrote about a dear woman friend of ours from Tucson Arizona, Joan Noll, who had passed away on the 24th of May, 2010, at 75 years of age.

She was a very remarkable woman, but was married to a very remarkable man.  Where Joan was effervescent and outgoing, Jim was solid as a rock.  Jim has now lost his soul mate of 39 years, and must find his own way in his later years alone.  They were unable to have children and so Jim is very much alone, though not alone in the world of the Spirit.

This morning My Dear Wife and I received a card from Jim, acknowledging the mass card we sent for the mass that will be said for the repose of Joan's soul. 

Joan died very suddenly of a massive heart attack, even though the mediciations she was taking for her heart and other ailments seemed to be working fine.  It came as quite a shock to Jim.

Jim has asked that we pray for Joan and for him, and so I entreat you to join me in praying for his safety, and that friends and family, and parish members will draw alongside of him in this time of need. 

Sacred Heart of Jesus we trust in Your Love for Jim and Joan Noll.
Sacred Heart of Jesus fill them and us with your blood.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Linda Gibbons - A Real Pro-Life Hero

H/t Big Blue Wave and Socon or Bust

Linda Gibbons.  Remember that name.  She is a pro-life heroine, and I am ashamed to say that until yesterday I had never heard of her.  This woman goes to jail regularly because she believes in the sanctity of life.  Makes her a hero for the unborn in my book, and that of many others.

Karla Holmolka is Canada's most notorious female criminal. The crimes she committed could only be described as heinous. She was incarcerated in 1995, and released in 2005, serving ten years of jail time. Ten years for the brutal slaying of three innocent girls.

Linda Gibbons has been in and out of jail for the past fifteen years. When you add it up, her jail time totals over seven years now. This last session has been a long one, with Linda in jail for over 570 consecutive days. So, what is Linda's grave crime?
Linda is guilty of praying in front of abortion clinics and for offering counsel to the women who are about to undergo an abortion. Many of you will be astounded to learn that this is a crime in Canada. But it is the truth.

In 1994, Ontario NDP Premier Bob Rae and Attorney General Marion Boyd decided to clamp down on pro-life picketing by passing an injunction that would not allow pro-life people inside a 60 foot "bubble zone" around specific abortion clinics in Ontario. It was no secret that Bob Rae's NDP government of the day was adamantly pro-abortion.

Pro-lifers were upset by the injunction. They felt duty-bound to attempt to counsel women to reconsider their decision to abort. Pro-lifers wanted to be present outside the abortion clinics, to be a prayerful and peaceful presence. The injunction forced pro-lifers across the street from the clinics, where they were virtually ineffective.

Linda Gibbons believes that she must answer to a higher authority than the provincial government when it comes to the issue of abortion. She thinks the legislation is shortsighted, as it does not allow women the opportunity for last minute assistance and it does not allow pro-lifers the opportunity to offer that assistance.

Linda is not willing to stand, ineffectively, across the street from the abortuary. Furthermore, she believes that sidewalks are public space.

And so, Linda's epic battle against the provincial government of Ontario began on September 2, 1994 when she was first arrested for violating the bubble zone injunction. Linda has been arrested many times in the intervening fifteen years. She refuses to sign the conditions that will allow her bail, i.e. not to appear within the bubble zone. She does her jail time, and then goes back to the streets to continue her pro-life efforts.

Many of you will wonder what motivates Linda. Many of you will think her actions are futile. Or foolish.

She calls it a "street ministry" and firmly believes that "we need to maintain our witness in front of abortuaries." Linda's guide is her bible, which clearly states, "We ought to obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29) Through all her jail time, Linda's bible has been her support and comfort. She has also been sustained by the outpouring of mail that she receives daily, from around the world.

Linda does not hide the fact that her own life was touched by abortion. She wants to spare women and men the pain that she experienced. The guilt that she feels because of her abortion motivates her to help others. She stands outside the abortion clinic, and offers to talk to the women going in. No hard sell and no heckling. Her manner is prayerful and peaceful.

But it is not lawful for Linda Gibbons to stand on the sidewalk and offer comfort, and so she is quickly re-arrested and returned to jail.

Slowly but surely, Linda's plight is gaining public attention. Mainstream media have no ink to spare for a simple grandmother who refuses to accept the legality of a 1994 provincial injunction. Unless it’s from a “pro-choice” perspective, abortion is not a story that the mainstream media likes to visit anyway. But Linda's persistence and perseverance are so extraordinary, that the story is gaining ground. Pro-life blogs mention her name frequently, and her story appeared, albeit briefly, in a recent National Post article.

Not many of us would be willing to go to jail to maintain our personal principles. Linda Gibbons is putting her pro-life beliefs on the line, willing to do serious jail time. Many consider Linda to be a pro-life heroine, a prisoner of conscience. REAL Women agrees with them.

To send a note of encouragement to Linda Gibbons, write:

Vanier Center for Women,
655 Martin Street, Box 1040,
Milton, ON, L9T 5E6

Friday, July 2, 2010

10 Year Old Preacher Man

This Young Man Has His Feet Set Firmly on the Rock

This young man is a spokesperson for God.  If the adults won't speak the truth, God can use the stones instead, but here He is using a young man with FAITH.

Jared Sawyer, Jr. of Decatur, Georgia preaches at Simon Temple AME Zion Church for Children's Sunday June 8, 2008..


God Calls Us to Forgive Others and Ourselves

This is a story of a man called to priesthood, who along the way makes a terrible mistake in judgement that takes the lives of two other seminarians.  But, it is a story, not of death, but of life, and life lived fully.

Here it is.